, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 601-608
Date: 12 Jan 2008

Application of stem cells in bone repair

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Bone has the ability to repair minor injuries through remodeling. However, when the host source of osteoprogenitors is compromised at the defect site, one effective treatment may be cell-based therapy, as it replenishes the area of bone loss with cells possessing osteogenic potential. This review is a concise comparison of different types of stem cells that have the potential to be used in tissue-engineered scaffolds for bone repair. The clinical use of mesenchymal stem or stromal cells isolated from the bone marrow for treating various diseases has been well documented. However, the scarcity of these cells prompts the search for alternative sources of multipotential cells such as amniotic fluid stem cells and umbilical cord perivascular cells. Embryonic stem cells are another controversial source of cells with osteogenic potential. These cells have the ability to differentiate into all cell types of the adult body. Issues such as the use of human embryos and the risk of contamination from animal-derived culture components continue to prevent the therapeutic use of ESCs. As a result, abundant research has been carried out to design defined culture conditions for culturing ESCs, and alternative strategies such as the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells are being developed to eliminate the need for using embryos for cell derivation. In addition to the cell source, the ability to control stem cell differentiation into functional bone and the choice of biomaterial are also paramount objectives that are being examined in research and clinical trials.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00256-008-0476-x